For baseball fans a trip to Fenway Park is a religious pilgrimage. The Boston Red Sox have played here since 1912. The oldest Major League Baseball ballpark is one of the last of its kind, a place where the scoreboard is hand-operated and fans endure uncomfortable seats.
For much of the ballpark’s history Babe Ruth’s specter loomed large. The team won five titles by 1918 but endured an 86-year title drought after trading away the Sultan of Swat. The Sox "reversed the curse" in 2004, defeating the rival Yanks in the American League Championship Series after being down 3–0 in the series (an unheard of comeback in baseball) and sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. The Red Sox won again in 2007, against the Colorado Rockies, and again against the Cardinals in 2013, the first time since 1918 that the team cinched the series in its hometown and once more in 2018 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The curse is no more.
Fenway Park Tours
If you can't see the Sox, you can still see the Green Monster up close by going on a tour of the park. The one-hour Fenway walking tours run year-round, and if you go on the day’s last tour on a home-game day, you can watch batting practice. Tours run hourly from 9 am to 5 pm (or four hours before game time) and cost $21. Check the site for info on premium tours. 617/226–6666 boston.redsox.mlb.com/bos/ballpark/tour.jsp.
The Red Sox have the most rabid fans in baseball. Knowledgeable and dedicated, they follow the team with religious-like intensity.
The Green Monster
Fenway’s most dominant feature is the 37-foot-high wall that looms over left field. It’s just over 300 feet from home plate and in the field of play, so deep fly balls that would have been outs in other parks sometimes become home runs. The Monster also stops line drives that would have been over the walls of other stadiums.
Fans sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch in every ballpark, but at Fenway they also sing Neil Diamond’s "Sweet Caroline" at the bottom of the eighth. If the Sox win, the Standells’ "Dirty Water" blasts over the loudspeakers.
In 1920 the Red Sox traded pitcher Babe Ruth to the Yankees, where he became a home-run-hitting baseball legend. Some fans—most famously Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who wrote a book called The Curse of the Bambino—blamed this move for the team’s 86-year title drought, but others will claim that "The Curse" was just a media-driven storyline used to explain the team’s past woes. Still, fans who watched a ground ball roll between Bill Buckner’s legs in the 1986 World Series or saw Aaron Boone’s winning home run in the 2003 A.L.D.S. swear the curse was real.
If you plan on catching a game at Fenway in the spring, bring warm clothes or a blanket. It can get chilly, especially in the stands. April lows are in the 40s and in May it can still get down to 50.
Visit the Nation
Not lucky enough to nab tickets ahead of time? Try your luck at Gate E two hours before the game, when a handful of tickets are sold. There’s a one-ticket limit, so everyone in your party must be in line.
If that doesn’t yield results, you can still experience the Nation. Head down to the park and hang out on Jersey Street, which borders the stadium. On game days it’s closed to cars and filled with vendors, creating a street-fair atmosphere. Duck into a nearby sports bar and enjoy the game with other fans who weren’t fortunate enough to secure seats. A favorite is the Cask’n Flagon, at Brookline Avenue and Lansdowne Street, across the street from Fenway.
The closest you can get to Fenway without buying a ticket is the Bleacher Bar (82A Lansdowne St.). There's a huge window in the center field wall overlooking the field. Get here early—it starts filling up a few hours before game time.
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